Market leader Airtel has admitted that space exists for price drops, but is clearly worried about escalating a price war with Jio.
In a clear indication that a calibrated response was all that Airtel was counting on, Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO, India and South Asia has spoken about the possibility of prices 'softening', but ruled out a free call regime in the future to PTI.
Airtel has so far surprised analysts, and perhaps, its million of subscribers, by not making any significant effort to match Jio's introductory rates, perhaps seeing the futility of matching something priced at zero.
More significantly, the response, along with its submission to the telecom regulator about providing more interconnect points than at any time before after Jio's entry, make it clear that the incumbent would rather ride out the free period till Dec 31st, and then buckle down to a formal war of attrition with Jio. So clearly, it does seem to be in the interest of all the incumbents to see Jio's free period end on Dec 31stor earlier, instead of getting extended due to a 'less than optimum' experience, as some Jio executives have spoken about.
To be sure, Airtel has not exactly been sitting tight. While it announced price cuts on data for its prepaid subscribers last month, in the past week or more, it has also quietly rolled out special data packages or top-ups for select postpaid subscribers. Starting at Rs 100 for 2 GB extra data and up proportionately, depending on the data plans and usage, the firm has clearly moved to protect its premium users from Jio's outreach.
As the deadline for Jio's free offers nears, expect more announcements and revisions from the incumbents. The joker in the pack? An extension of the free period by Jio to Jan 31st or beyond, a possibility that is looking increasingly unlikely, except perhaps for select new subscribers to specific plans.
India's Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Arun Jaitley launched the service today at an event in New Delhi.
India's Union Minister of Finance, Arun Jaitley, will inaugurate the new service along with Bharti Group Chairman, Sunil Bharti Mittal.
In its 25-page petition filed before Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), Airtel has asked the body to direct TRAI to ensure that Jio does not provide its free voice and data plan beyond December 3.
Airtel claims that with the new 'V-Fiber' it can deliver speeds up to 100 Mbps across its current connections in the city.
The company has added two new plans, Rs 549 and Rs 799, to its myPlan Infinity postpaid offers.
Note, the following tariffs and benefits are related to Delhi Circle only and can vary from circle to circle.
Even non-Airtel customers with an Aadhaar card can open a Savings Account.
Airtel further claimed that it has been providing enough Points of Interconnection way before Jio's commercial launch and post that it started adding the PoIs at a staggering pace.
TRAI had imposed these fines on Airtel, Voda and Idea primarily following complaints from Jio.
TRAI on Oct 21 slapped heavy penalties on three telecom players - Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular - amounting to Rs 3,050 crore for not providing sufficient PoIs to Reliance Jio